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How to Use 10 10 10 Fertilizer In Your Garden and Lawn

Wondering what 10 10 10 fertilizer is and how to use it on your garden and lawn? Fertilizers play an important role in supporting the health of your garden, helping plants to grow vigorously, flower often, produce good yields and fight off diseases and pests.

In this article, we’re taking a look at 10 10 10 fertilizer, giving you a complete guide to what it is, when and how to apply it, and what plants it’s the best fertilizer for.

How To Use 10 10 10 Fertilizer In Your Garden and Lawn

What is 10 10 10 Fertilizer?

What is 10 10 10 Fertilizer

The numbers on a type of fertilizer tell you the ratio of ingredients within the mix. The first number is the amount of nitrogen (N), the second is the amount of phosphorus (P), and the last number is the amount of potassium (K)

It is also know as NPK fertilizer. This means that a bag of 10 10 10 fertilizer contains 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium.

These three ingredients are essential nutrients required by all plants, but some plants require more of certain nutrients than others, which is why there are differently numbered types of fertilizer.

This type of fertilizer comes in a few varieties, including:

  • Easy-to-use liquid 10 10 10 fertilizer.
  • Slow-release granular fertilizer.
  • An organic fertilizer.

Slow-release granular 10 10 10 fertilizer is the most popular option, as it usually comes in larger quantities ideal for use throughout your yard.

Once it is applied, it supplies these essential nutrients at a steady rate for an extended period of time. You can even make your own 10 10 10 fertilizer.

What is a 10 10 10 Fertilizer Used For?

Because of its balanced nutrients, 10 10 10 fertilizer is the best fertilizer for all-purpose gardening. Which is why it is one of the most popular fertilizers available.

You can generally use it on almost all plants in your garden, including vegetables, fruit trees, lawn and flowering plants. It is not recommended for plants with specific, unusual nutrient needs because it won’t supply everything the plant requires.

For example, banana trees need an 8 10 8 fertilizer rather than a 10 10 10 fertilizer because they are heavy feeders of nitrogen and potassium. While flowering bulbs don’t need a lot of nitrogen, so they prefer a 5 10 5 fertilizer.

How to Use 10 10 10 Fertilizer 

Now that we’ve discussed what 10 10 10 fertilizer is. We have determined that it is the best fertilizer for your garden by using a soil test. Now you need to know how to use 10 10 10 fertilizer correctly.

How to Use 10 10 10 Fertilizer

Testing Your Soil

Garden fertilizer is used to get the right balance of nutrients in your soil for your plants, trees and grass to thrive. But how can you be sure you’re adding the right fertilizer if you don’t know what’s already in your soil?

There’s a lot more variety in soil than we think, with different gardens even in the same neighborhood having very different nutrient levels. 

There are two ways that you can test your soil, and both ways involve testing the PH levels of the soil. You can:

Buy a soil testing kit:

This comes complete with a number of easy tests for PH, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and you can find these kits at most garden centers.

They use a simple color testing strip and you perform the test by mixing a soil sample with water, adding the correct color capsule.

Giving the test a few minutes to develop and then matching that color to the reference chart. This will show how much or how little of a nutrient is present in your soil.

Make a DIY soil testing kit:

You can also make a soil testing kit yourself using vinegar and baking soda. You can see exactly how to do this by following the instructions in the video below.

Once you know what is lacking in your soil, you can add the right fertilizer.

When to Apply 10-10-10 Fertilizer

First, you need to know the right time of year to apply fertilizer in your garden if you want to get the best results. For 10 10 10 fertilizer, it is best to apply it in the early spring when plants are just beginning to start their most active growth phase.

You can continue to apply a small amount of fertilizer during the dormant months of late fall and winter, or you can stop fertilizing for these months.

Don’t apply before heavy rain however, as this can cause most of your fertilizer to leech out of your soil and run off your garden, down the drain.

What Plants Need 10 10 10 Fertilizer 

Trees and shrubs, especially those that flower, benefit from a second dose of fertilizer later in early summer and a light dose in the fall. Roses are fairly heavy feeders, so they benefit from a weaker dose of liquid 10 10 10 fertilizer each week.

It can also be applied to leafy vegetables in your vegetable garden about one month after planting, in the spring, and a second dose about a month later.

This will encourage healthy, vigorous leaf growth, so it’s best applied to vegetables grown for their leaves (like spinach, kale lettuce, celery and broccoli) rather than those grown for their roots, fruits or seeds.

You can get a good variety of 10 10 10 organic fertilizers for vegetables online or at your local garden center.

How to Apply 10 10 10 Fertilizer in Your Garden

How to Apply 10 10 10 Fertilizer in Your Garden

Because this is an all-purpose garden fertilizer, the best way to apply it is to your garden as a whole. To estimate the amount of 10 10 10 fertilizer you’ll need, you need an idea of the square footage of your garden, including the lawn. 

Every bag has a coverage guide on the packaging. Simply divide the square footage by the coverage of your chosen brand to get the right bag size. 

Generally, 10 10 10 fertilizer is applied at a rate of 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. It’s always good to overestimate, as spare fertilizer keeps well and can be used for additional doses later. Or for more heavy feeders in your garden.

Ways to Apply Garden Fertilizers

By hand: 

Wear gloves and walk backwards, throwing handfuls of fertilizer in an even, sweeping motion over your plants and lawn.

By broadcast applicator:

You can purchase a fertilizer spreader or broadcast applicator which drops fertilizer evenly as you walk it through the garden or over your lawn. 

This works well on even surfaces and is ideal if you have a large yard, but you will still have to apply the fertilizer by hand to the beds and hard-to-reach areas.

How to Use 10 10 10 Fertilizer for Lawns for Best Results

How to Use 10 10 10 Fertilizer for Lawns

Check What Grass You Have

The first thing that you need to do is to collect some grass from your lawn and identify it. An easy way is take it to a local garden center to help determine if you have a warm or cool season variety of grass.

Warm Season Grass Varieties

Warm grass varieties should be fertilized twice in the spring and twice again during the fall season.

When fertilizing in spring, you need to apply the first dose of fertilizer once the new grass starts growing. Then second dose should be applied 30 days after this.

In the fall, the first dose of fertilizer should be applied in early fall while the grass is still growing and the weather is warm. With the second dose occurring 30 days after this.

Warm season grasses include:
  • St Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum)
  • Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon)
  • Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides)
  • Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum)
  • Carpet grass (Axonopus affinis)
  • Centipede grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides)
  • Zoysia grass (Zoysia japonica)

Cool Season Grass Varieties

For cool season grass varieties, you can start fertilizing them once during the spring season as the new growth starts. Then twice during the fall season when the temperature starts to cool down.

Cool season grasses include:
  • Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis)
  • Creeping bent grass (Agrostis palustris)
  • Creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra var. rubra)
  • Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum)
  • Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne)
  • Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea)

Applying 10 10 10 Fertilizer for Lawns

After testing your soil and buying the right amount of fertilizer, you should follow these steps when applying to lawns. This is the ideal fertilizer for lawns, as the nitrogen promotes the fast growth of healthy, lush blades of grass to create a thick, green lawn.

STEP 1: Mowing Your Lawn Before Applying 10 10 10 Fertilizer

Mowing Your Lawn Before Applying 10 10 10 Fertilizer

Trim your lawn so that the blades are of an even height. This allows the fertilizer to easily seep through to the soil below. It also makes it much easier to apply the fertilizer by hand or using a hand broadcast applicator or fertilizer spreader.

STEP 2: Water Your Lawn

Water your lawn thoroughly to ensure the soil soaks up plenty of moisture. You can use a garden sprinkler, sprinkler system or simply wait for a rainy day. 

The grass needs the water to dissolve the fertilizer and access these critical nutrients.

STEP 3: Applying 10 10 10 Fertilizer To The Lawn

Choose a cool day and apply the fertilizer either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This will prevent the soil from drying out and getting hot, as this can cause the grass to get burned by the concentrated nutrients in the fertilizer.

STEP 4: Watering Your Lawn After Fertilization

Watering lawn after applying 10-10-10 fertilizer

Water your lawn again after applying the fertilizer. This should just be a light watering to keep the soil wet. Do not water the lawn heavily, as this will wash away your fertilizer.

For more control on your watering schedule, read our reviews on the best oscillating sprinklers here.

STEP 5: Lawn Watering Schedule

Keep watering your lawn lightly every second day for about a week to fully dissolve the fertilizer. This gives the grass a chance to absorb the nutrients.

Remember to maintain your lawn and mow regularly as the new growth appears to ensure your grass gets thick and healthy.

Caution: Do Not Over-Use 10 10 10 Fertilizer

It is easy to over-use 10 10 10 fertilizer in your garden, but this can cause damage to your plants as well as the environment. If you over fertilize your garden, you will start to see plants wilting, burned areas on leaves and lawns, and a white, salt-like crust on your soil. 

If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to flush the affected area with a long, deep water. Over fertilizing your garden also leads to increased amounts of nutrients leeching out of your garden during the rainy season and into waterways via storm drains. 

This flood of nutrients is very damaging to the environment. It can cause dangerous algae blooms in lakes and rivers. It use all of the oxygen in the water, causing fish and aquatic animals to suffocate and die.

FAQs About 10-10-10 Fertilizer

What kind of fertilizer is 10 10 10?

10 10 10 is a complete and balanced all-purpose garden fertilizer that contains 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus  and 10% potassium.

What is a good all-purpose fertilizer?

10 10 10 fertilizer is the best all round fertilizer for gardens. It can be used for all plants, including trees, flowers, shrubs, vegetables and lawns. It is widely available, easy to use and comes in liquid and slow-release granules.

When should I apply 10 10 10 fertilizer to my vegetable garden?

You should apply it every 30 days to your vegetable garden through the growing season, starting about two weeks after your seedlings start growing.

It is great for vegetable gardens, especially for growing leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale and celery.

Is 10-10-10 fertilizer good for lawns?

Lawns benefit from 10 10 10 fertilizer, as it stimulates healthy leaf growth and promotes a thick, lush lawn. Using it correctly will help your lawn grow faster and thicker when applied correctly, thanks to its high nitrogen content.

How do you use 10 10 10 fertilizer in the garden?

Ten pounds of fertilizer is generally applied to 1,000 square feet of garden. Do not over fertilize your garden, as it will damage your plants and the environment. To get an even application, it’s best to use a fertilizer spreader.

Which fertilizer makes plants grow faster?

The best fertilizer for helping plants grow faster is 10 10 10 fertilizer. This is an all-purpose fertilizer that encourages healthy, vigorous leaf growth and is ideal for lawns, trees, shrubs and vegetable gardens.

Now You Know What and How To Use 10 10 10 Fertilizer

It can be used on vegetables, trees, flowering plants and shrubs as well as lawns, and is easy to apply by hand or using a fertilizer spreader. Be sure to keep the ground moist when you fertilize to avoid burning your plants and to help them take up these nutrients.

Don’t over fertilize, as this can damage your plants and the environment. 10 10 10 fertilizer is a great all-purpose fertilizer for gardens and lawns, as it supports healthy, rapid leaf growth. 

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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Leave a Comment:

Donna Dawson says August 7, 2018

This blog is really very informative. I was unsure how often I need to apply fertilizer to my lawn and this post just enlightened me. Thank you. By the way is there such a thing as applying too much fertilizer?

Perfect Plants says September 26, 2019

You can basically use 10-10-10 on anything if you do your research! Thanks for sharing this. Always a good refresher.

Sazia says November 5, 2019

Hi, Great information shared about fertilizer.

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